Saturday, January 28, 2006

Today I want to mention a couple more herbs that are easily available and can be used as Simples. (Remember that Simples are a way of using herbal remedies where you use large doses of individual herbs, often for extended periods of time; I discussed the practice of Simpling in a little more depth in the post I made on January 23, if you missed that one.)

The herbs I want to discuss today are both members of the Mint family, Peppermint and Rosemary; both these herbs have a long history of use in many herbal traditions.

Peppermint is one of the most widely used and recognized medicinal herbs. (Another member of the mint family is Spearmint, it has very similar properties as Peppermint, but to a lesser extent.) Peppermint has traditionally been used to improve digestive functions, and to relieve heartburn and nausea.

Peppermint has also been used to relieve tension and anxiety, and to treat headaches. It has also been used as a herbal remedy to decrease nervousness and relieve insomnia.

Peppermint is considered a mild general stimulant without degenerative side effects; and traditionally is used to strengthen and cleanse the entire system. Also, it has some minor anti-bacterial properties, and is said to help ease the common cold.

Peppermint has also been traditionally been used as a remedy for the early stages of measles, and is useful both taken internally as a tea or infusion, and externally as a compress to relieve itching and inflammation.

In some herbal traditions, Peppermint is also believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Some herbalists suggest caution with using Peppermint in the early stages of pregnancy, but, according to the research I have seen, this is true more for The stronger Peppermint Oil, rather than the actual herb. I do strongly suggest that if you are pregnant or nursing, that you discuss with your doctor any herbs you are planning to take.

Rosemary is another herbal remedy that has been use for centuries, not just as a culinary herb.
A very old use of Rosemary was to preserve meats by coating them with crushed Rosemary, because the Rosemary Oil retards spoilage, in fact it compares well with the commonly used modern preservatives, BHA and BHT.

It is another herb that many herbalists urge caution using during pregnancy, and I think that is a good suggestion. Using small amounts in cooking should present no problem, but using it as a Simple should be done during pregnancy under a doctor's supervision.

Rosemary is another herb commonly used for headaches (in fact any member of the mint family can be helpful treating headaches), especially headaches caused by cold. Rosemary actually contains salicyllic acid, which is an aspirin precursor.

A Rosemary infusion has been traditionally recommended as a gargle to treat sore throat.

Rosemary vinegar (4 teaspoons added to rinse water) has been used as a natural treatment for dandruff.

Rosemary has also been used to help remedy poor circulation, and is sometimes recommended to help reduce gallbladder irritation and to treat gallstones. (If you suspect that you have gallstones, please consult your doctor.)

If you have any questions about these or any herbs, feel free to post them here, and I will answer any questions I can. (Please do not ask me to diagnose or treat medical problems, that is beyond my scope of practice, and should be left to your primary medical provider.)

Back soon with more info...

The material presented in this blog is for informational use only and should in no way be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you need medical care, please consult the appropriate medical professional. And please discuss with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any herbal preparations.

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